2023 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Tyler Davis

Age: 37

Senior Manager Produce Sourcing–Northeast
US Foods
Rosemont, IL

Hometown: Rehoboth Beach, DE
Hobbies: Golf, Deep Sea Fishing, Family Beach Days
Family/Community: Married, 1 son
Motto in life: The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Upon graduation from Penn State University in hotel, restaurant and institutional management, Davis started his career with Sysco Foods in 2010 as a merchandising analyst. He quickly volunteered to begin buying produce beside a true veteran of the category, Harry Troxell, who served as Davis’ mentor for several years. In 2017, Davis took a produce manager position for Sysco Foods.

He transitioned in 2019 to US Foods as a produce category operations manager, where he managed three warehouses in the Delaware Valley. With the acquisition of Amerifresh by US Foods, he was promoted in 2021 to his current regional role out of Swedesboro, NJ, supervising produce sourcing for 15 DCs located within the Northeast. Over the past two years, he has helped develop an aggressive strategy to increase case growth through optimizing the company’s supply network, maneuvering through tough macro-economic climates and ultimately increasing market share YoY. He is credited with bringing the best increase in revenue in the Northeast region in the history of the company.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Complacency stagnates growth. Celebrate your successes, but don’t become content. From a sourcing perspective, there are always new vendors, growing regions and industry trends leading the way to make our category grow. Make sure you are on the forefront of innovation before it becomes a trend and puts you in the rear view mirror.

Q: What aspect of the business challenged you the most early on?
There is no “One Size Fits All” strategy. Each DC has its own challenges based on its customer demographics, operational constrains and seasonality trends. Putting customers first and taking constructive feedback from sellers helps develop the roadmap for success within each market. Collectively developing a strategy across multiple departments makes them have “skin in the game” and will drive results.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?
When I first started years ago, I would have told you that the industry was changing by the hour. Now, I feel that it is changing by the minute! Information is coming in at an extremely high rate. Rely on your vendor partners and industry leaders to help navigate the categories. There are a lot of experts out there and relationships are key to help both sides of the table.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
Building excitement within our organization — whether that is the education and growth of our produce managers at the DCs or giving the confidence to a brand new seller in growing the category. Celebrating the successes of others and watching them develop their careers has been rewarding.

Q: What do you see as a critical issue facing the industry in the next decade and why?
Inflation costs have been a hot topic since the pandemic. When customers begin to look at their expenses, they will have to decide whether going out to eat fits their budget. When they do decide to go out to eat, we have to make sure our category is on the top of their list.